If you fell under the spell of TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain last year, Celebration is good for a similar postmodern fix. TVOTR's Dave Sitek produced Celebration's new CD, The Modern Tribe, and he wangled most of his bandmates into fleshing out the Baltimore trio's brand of tribal indie rock. Afrobeat group Antibalas even lent its horn section to the project. Yet The Modern Tribe doesn't sound nearly as big as all that studio-cramming would have you believe. Despite the bevy of cool friends on board, the album comes off like it was recorded by the same three members of Celebration who made 2005's self-titled debut.
That's not all that sounds the same: Singer Katrina Ford still works her pipes like she just spent the past three weeks listening only to Karen O and Siouxsie Sioux. But unlike her chief influences, Ford understands the power of subtlety. She also doesn't heave her voice into hysterics every chance she gets, keeping the spastic quivering to a minimum. Ford and her bandmates' tribal rhythms, paired with Celebration's expanding catalog of gritty songs about "Pressure" and "Heartbreak," leave The Modern Tribe pretty much amounting to layered, arty psych-rock for like-minded listeners.